Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

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Warren: Change in defensive plans spurred release

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - When you look at the list of 2011 Patriots salaries and cap hits, one number in the top five jumps off the page. Ty Warren with an approximate3.1 million salary and a 5.878 million cap hit. (Thanks, Miguel!). That number is too steep for a player of Warren's age and injury history despite all the good work he's done for this team. And there was a lot of it between the time he was taken with the 13th overall pick in 2003 and July 28, 2011. When I contacted Warren Friday afternoon and told him I was sorry to hear the news, he replied,"Don't be sorry. It's all good, man. I'm excited, really, to be honest with you. I appreciate everything. I appreciate my journey with the Pats and the Kraft family presenting the opportunity. I appreciate all my teammates over the years who were close friends...and will continue to be. I look forward to bigger and better things. "We're putting out feelers to certain teams around the league," he added. "I'm looking forward to donning the jersey of a contending team and that's what you'll see me wearing this fall."Warren missed all of 2010after hip surgery.The 30-year-old from Texas A&M has been a highly regarded player in the community and the locker room, but there seemed to be growing friction between he and Bill Belichick in the last couple of years here. On Thursday, Warren failed the team's conditioning test, pulling up with a hamstring injury. "But there's people who failed the running test who stuck around," Warren pointed out."I think the team was looking to do some things differentlyon defense andI wasn't in the plan. It doesn't have anything to do with the test or anything else or related with Bill. You can see by the acquisitions they made. Plan on doing different things I'm not in the plans for and with my salary, they weren't going to keep me around as dead money."Asked about his relationship with Belichick, Warren said, "Bill's a unique guy. There's some things that toward the end of my careerwe didn't agree on. At the same time, you can't make him happy all the time and he can't make me happy all the time. At the end of the dayI respect him as a good coach and as someone who was very good at preparing the team. But that's about as far as it goes."Hisexit conversation with Belichick was "a grateful talk." Warren added,"I respect Bill and I respect the guys."The other salary-cap related move was clearly offensive lineman Nick Kaczur who was on the books for3.4 million in salary and over 4.3 million in salary and potential bonus money. A third-round pick in 2005, Kaczur wasa more than serviceable right tackle for much of his time but his performance lagged in 2009. A back injury during training camp last year cost him the 2010 season. Alge Crumpler may be thebiggest surprise among the releases. He was due a salary of 2.4 million this year. He joined the Patriots last spring and quickly became a mentor to young tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and brought such great leadership he was named a captain last year. He was also an outstanding blocker. He seems the most likely of the released players to get re-signed to a lower contract at a later date. The Patriots also announced the previously reported releases of Marcus Stroud and Tully Banta-Cain, as well as the signings of two rookies - quarterback Ryan Mallett and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

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Blount on free agency: 'I definitely want to go back to New England'

LeGarrette Blount knows where he wants to be for 2017. Ever since he re-joined the Patriots in 2014 following a short stay in Pittsburgh, the 250-pound back has been very open about how he wants to play out the rest of his career in New England. 

Those feelings haven't changed, even as he faces free-agency after having recorded the best season of his seven-year career.

"I just want to make sure that I go to this free agency with an open mind, knowing that I definitely want to go back to New England," he told NFL Total Access on Monday. "I love it there. I love the culture. I love the players. I've become close with a lot of the guys. Obviously you know how my running back group is.

"We'll cross that bridge whenever we cross it. On that point, I feel great. I'm in amazing shape. I feel like I could play 100 more years if I have to."

Blount finished 2016 with career-highs in attempts (299) yards (1,161) and touchowns (18). His ability to help the Patriots close games in the fourth quarter was notable throughout the course of the season, and he was among the most effective goal-line backs in the league. His 18 rushing scores are a franchise record.

Toward the end of the season, as Dion Lewis worked his way back into the Patriots offense, Blount had his workload cut into, and his fumble in the Super Bowl was a near-catastrophic moment -- his devastated reaction to which was caught expertly by NFL Films. But a big-picture view of Blount's year would reveal that he  posted the most prodictive "big back" season the Patriots have had in more than a decade.

Blount signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last offseason after seeing his 2015 prematurely ended by way of a hip injury. He turned 30 in December.

Garoppolo's mom keeps him apprised of trade rumors: 'She's all over that stuff'

Garoppolo's mom keeps him apprised of trade rumors: 'She's all over that stuff'

Jimmy Garoppolo can't help but hear trade rumors that involve his name. He heard all about them during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Now his mom's keeping him up to date. 

"My mom loves telling me the news updates," Garoppolo told ESPN's Adam Schefter, "so she’s all over that stuff, but it’s been working really well . . . 

"I’m telling you, she could be your assistant. She’s all over the place. Her and my dad on Twitter and stuff like that. I don’t even think they know how to tweet, but they always have something going on . . .

"They know what to hit me with and what to keep quiet. They know me so well that they know what I’d like to hear and what I don’t need to hear. There’s a couple slip-ups here and there, I’m not going to lie to you, but they’re just so excited about it. It’s an exciting time, and they’re loving it."

Garoppolo tried his best to deflect questions about his future as he prepared for Super Bowl LI, but he could only insulate himself so much from those conversations. After six quarters of well-played football, he's chummed the waters for quarterback-starved franchises. As the draft nears, offers are expected to hit the Gillette Stadium offices, and it will be up to Bill Belichick and his staff to determine whether they should part ways with Tom Brady's backup. 

Schefter asked Garoppolo about one team in particular that could be interested: the Chicago Bears. Their general manager Ryan Pace is an Eastern Illinois alum, like Garoppolo, and Garoppolo is a Chicago-area kid. 

"I get asked about [that possibility] all the time from my friends and family back in Chicago," Garoppolo said. "They’re good reporters, my family. But I keep telling them I really don’t know how it would feel until . . . if it was to happen, I wouldn’t know how I’d feel until it did, you know? So it’s kind of one of those things, it’s hard to say right now."

Garoppolo added: "For the most part I am just trying to stay level-headed, trying not to think about it, over think it too much because at the end of the day I am still under contract. It is not my decision if I get traded or if I don’t, so I am just trying to take it all in stride. At the end of the day, you just have to enjoy it. The NFL, it is a hard place to be, hard place to succeed and when you get an opportunity you have to go and take advantage of it."

The idea of getting an opportunity, though, is an enticing one. Before the 2016 season, Garoppolo was very open about how he looked forward to his opportunity to start with Brady suspended for the first four weeks of the season. And with Schefter, he acknowledged that there are times when it's hard not to be impatient when you're the guy behind the guy.

"There’s times," Garoppolo said. "Obviously the kickoff happens and you are ready to roll. The juices get flowing again. You get the adrenaline, the butterflies. It’s football, you have to love the atmosphere . . . 

"We all play the game. We all want to be out there on the field and get an opportunity to play. I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there is probably the best way to put it. We’re competitors at the end of the day. We want to be out there, I want to be out there competing and playing with my teammates.”